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decapitate

[dih-kap-i-teyt] /dɪˈkæp ɪˌteɪt/
verb (used with object), decapitated, decapitating.
1.
to cut off the head of; behead:
Many people were decapitated during the French Revolution.
Origin
1605-1615
1605-15; < Late Latin dēcapitātus, past participle of dēcapitāre, equivalent to dē- de- + capit- (stem of caput) head + -ātus -ate
Related forms
decapitation, noun
decapitator, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for decapitation
  • Presumably the stress of impending decapitation caused her locks to lose color within hours.
  • But it's more than a spectacular act of decapitation, it's also loads of fun to play.
  • Only the head is served, but a waitress said that shrimp remain alive for a few minutes after decapitation.
  • It was the decapitation of the country's pre-war elite.
  • Hitherto the majority has been distinctly inclined to give a sentence of summary decapitation and dissection.
  • Liberty, equality and fraternity do not require decapitation.
  • The first one was a decapitation by a jagged piece of a roof.
British Dictionary definitions for decapitation

decapitate

/dɪˈkæpɪˌteɪt/
verb
1.
(transitive) to behead
Derived Forms
decapitation, noun
decapitator, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin dēcapitāre, from Latin de- + caput head
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for decapitation
n.

1640s, from French décapitation, from Medieval Latin decapitationem (nominative decapitatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Late Latin decapitare (see decapitate).

decapitate

v.

1610s, from French décapiter (14c.), from Late Latin decapitatus past participle of decapitare, from Latin de- "off" (see de-) + caput (genitive capitis) "head" (see capitulum). Related: Decapitated; decapitating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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decapitation in Medicine

decapitation de·cap·i·ta·tion (dĭ-kāp'ĭ-tā'shən)
n.
The removal of a head, as of an animal, a fetus, or a bone.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for decapitation

beheading

a mode of executing capital punishment by which the head is severed from the body. The ancient Greeks and Romans regarded it as a most honourable form of death. Before execution the criminal was tied to a stake and whipped with rods. In early times an ax was used, but later a sword, which was considered a more honourable instrument of death, was used for Roman citizens. Ritual decapitation known as seppuku was practiced in Japan from the 15th through the 19th century. One symbolic consequence of the French Revolution was the extension of the privilege of beheading to criminals of ordinary birth, by means of the guillotine.

Learn more about beheading with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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